London – Brushing your teeth three or more times a day could make you less likely to develop diabetes, a study found. Equally, those with poor oral health are more likely to suffer from the disease. Researchers collected data from almost 190 000 people between 2003 and 2006. Of those, 17.5 percent were found to have periodontal disease – a gum problem associated with not brushing frequently.
Gum disease has been linked to many health complications, including stroke and heart disease. But the reasons are not so clear.
After an average follow-up time of ten years, 31 545 of the people monitored had developed diabetes. The study, led by Dr Tae-Jin Song of Seoul Hospital and Ewha Womans University College of Medicine, was published in the journal Diabetologia.
The South Korean study, published in the journal Diabetologia, found that on average those who brushed their teeth at least three times a day were eight percent less likely to have become diabetic after ten years.
Researchers also found that those with gum disease were nine percent more likely to have developed diabetes – and people who had at least 15 missing teeth had an increased risk of 21 percent.
After an average follow-up time of 10 years, those with periodontal disease were nine per cent more likely to have developed diabetes.
The researchers said: “Improving oral hygiene may be associated with a decreased risk of occurrence of new-onset diabetes.” While carrying out the study, researchers did not differentiate between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.